Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Friday, 4 November 2005

And Now for Something Completely Different

Antelope Canyon, Arizona

These pictures were taken today in Antelope Canyon. I think you will find them unusual.

The canyon is a type of canyon called a 'slot canyon'. To visit the canyon, which lies within the Navaho Nation, you must hire a native guide... most of them are very adept at digital photography.


On the ride out to the canyon with our large Navaho guide and another couple from Missouri, we pass signs that prohibit entry to the area without a native guide. These signs cite both US and tribal laws. The young couple we are with joke and say 'What are they going to do? Put us in a sweat lodge?; Our Navaho guide gently reminds them that some things are sacred.

The young Missouri man says that (PC) political correctness has gone too far when the only safe subject for jokes is stupid white men. My neck prickles in embarrassment and I quickly change the subject and ask the Navaho guide what impact the big dam has had on the local area.

 The guide explains that the dam is in the middle of the huge Navaho nation reservation and that the land was arbitrarily retaken by the government to build the dam. He explains that almost all Navahos live in house trailers because they have no fixed rights to the land they live on and may need to move at any time. He explains that land rights are based on the number of grazing animals owned and may be readjusted.

In the slot canyon the guide stays close to me to point out good shots and helps me set my digital camera to get the best results. A tri-pod would have been great. I had to delete lots of great shots because of blurred pictures caused by limited light, but the good ones are spectacular. The Navaho guide says he has learned about digital photography by playing with cameras.

The slot canyon is a catchment for forty miles of rainfall. A small flood deposits several feet of sand on the slot canyon floor and a large one might remove ten feet of sand. It's one of the most unusual and beautiful geological formations I've ever seen. It's like a sandstone swirled cave with the top removed.

 The Page/Lake Powell hot air balloon festival begins at dawn.

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